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Štimac names first squad for friendly against the Swiss

July 30, 2012

Photo: Vladimir Dugandžić / Cropix


New Croatia manager Igor Štimac (center) with his assistants: Tomislav Rogić, Alen Bokšić, Krunoslav Jurčić and Igor Tudor



Croatia coach Igor Štimac named the following 23-man squad for Croatia’s friendly match against Switzerland on August 15th. This will be Štimac’ first match in charge since taking over for Slaven Bilić after EURO 2012. The 44-year-old, former Hajduk Split defender, also officially announced his assistants (Tomislav Rogić, Alen Bokšić, Krunoslav Jurčić and Igor Tudor) to the Croatian media in Zagreb on Monday. Mario MaločaAnte Vukušić, and Mateo Kovačić will be looking to earn their first cap for Croatia, while Darijo Knežević returns to the team after just recently transferring to Rijeka. 





Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov), Danijel Subašić (Monaco)




Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Ivan Strinić (Dnipro),  Vedran Ćorluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Dinamo Zagreb),  Gordon Schindelfeld (Dynamo Moscow), Mario Maloča (Hajduk Split), Darijo Knežević (Rijeka) 




Danijel Pranjić (Sporting Lisbon), Luka Modrić (Tottenham), Ivan Perišić (Dortmund), Ognjen Vukojević (Dynamo Kyiv), Ivan Rakitić (Sevilla), Niko Kranjčar(Dynamo Kyiv),  Milan Badelj (Dinamo Zagreb),  Ivo Iličević (Hamburger), Mateo Kovačić(Dinamo Zagreb),




Mario Mandžukić (Bayern Munich), Eduardo Da Silva (Shakhtar), Nikica Jelavić (Everton),  Ivica Olić (Wolfsburg), Ante Vukušić (Hajduk) 



Thanks to Slaven Bilić and co.  for making good results and leaving us with a well-selected team. Those that were not invited for this test remain in contention, and every time we will try to introduce some young players. From Vrsaljko we expect a lot more than what he is currently showing. He is young and promising, but he is currently out of form and in that position we have quality solutions. We decided to leave him at his club, to train and assist Dinamo to qualify for the Champions League, but we will count on him in the future. The absence of Kelava has nothing to do with his form. For this friendly we invited only two goalkeepers and this is the reason for his absence. The Kovačić call shows that I will not think about age, managers or clubs but only about how certain players play, live and relate to their work. Kovačić has earned an invitation, I have no doubt that Josip Radošević will receive an invitation real soon. We have the obvious problem with stoppers, we will try out Knežević in that position. We will be much stronger when Lovren recovers.”


~Igor Štimac



“I am delighted about the start of the season especially since so many people were pessimistic. Now I want to be a regular on the national team and repay Štimac for trusting in me.”

~Hajduk captain, Ante Vukušić




“I was pleasantly surprised by the invitation, and I consider this as a reward for my hard work. I have to thank the entire Hajduk team,  especially coach Mišo Krstičević for trusting in me after months of knee problems.”



~Hajduk Split defender, Mario Maloča


Denis Svirčić
Posted By: Denis Svirčić 18 comments

  1. Denis Svirčić Denis Svirčić says:

    I like what I see so far. Dujmovic and Kalinic were left out, which is fine by me for a friendly. I’m interested to see if Ivica Olic has anything left in the tank. I want to cash in on my shirt investment :)

    I also like what Stimac had to say during the press conference. Bilic failed to slowly introduce youth to the squad. A friendly like this is the perfect opportunity for Vukusic and Kovacic. However, I’m afraid that Stimac will showcase the HNL youth just so they can be sold for a pretty penny with a cut going to him and the Mamic empire.

    Still early boys, I’m not praising Stimac, but I sure as hell am not bashing him, especially after announcing his first squad.

  2. Zach G says:

    How long is Lovren out for? Without Dujmovic, were down to one defensive midfielder

    The Swiss are a very good team so it should be a tough game

  3. JerseyCro says:

    Maloca and Vukusic are not in “Mamic’s Empire”. I won’t say Stimac is calling up HNL guys for profit YET. I will when he starts calling up guys like Sammir, Rukavina, Cop (average Dinamo players)

    Why not test Maloca? We obviously need to improve CB depth, I like that call from Stimac, not so much the Knezevic call. When Lovren comes back Knezevic/Maloca will drop from the squad anyway.

    Dujmovic is not a starter with his new club, I think his NT days are close to over unless he can win a starting spot back.

    Still too early for a guy like Radosevic,he has only played like 10-15 HNL matches

  4. Denis Svirčić Denis Svirčić says:


    I am all for testing Vukusic and Maloca. Good call on both. Stimac is a smart guy. No chance he calls up Sammir for his first game in charge. Still earrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrly. Rest assured that Mamic, Suker and Stimac are all working together. I still feel that Mamic is on top of the empire.

    Stimac could have easily told Mamic, “give me a couple of games, if we struggle, I will call up Sammir. Dinamo will sell when the stock is high and we are all happy.”

    I dont trust Mamic and Suker. However, something tells me that Stimac will prove everyone wrong. I feel that there will be changes with Stimac on top.

  5. Tom Franciskovic says:

    I’m happy with what I see for the most part. I think I would call Petric or Klasnic ahead of Eduardo. I hope that Stimac doesn’t go the way of Bilic post Euro ’08 and put so much faith in Eduardo. The guy just has nor been producing like he was prior to the injury. Work with one of the other strikers or introduce some of the young guys from the HNL. Good Liuck Igor.

  6. Steve T.O says:

    Last time I checked before the Euro’s Eduardo was the only striker producing for the national team. He’s always gold when wearing the checkers. Even for the friendlies he was scoring in every game. He can’t be replaced!

  7. Andrej says:

    Kovacic got the call because of age and he is a player who will be playing for Croatia in the future. He isn’t near a top player but he is a player worth putting some experience in. He can only get better playing with better and against better players.

    I don’t see an argument for Eduardo. You are questioning faith in a striker who still has a 1 in 2 goals to game ratio and is the active leading scorer and is not OLD! He hasnt produced at the level he was once at but to say he isn’t worth having in the squad is absolutely ridiculous. There are far more players not worthy than Dudu.

    The only thing I will judge Stimac on is the results he gets on the field. I don’t care who he calls up or how he goes about his business as long as he brings the team success. He is stepping in some mighty hard shoes after Bilic who did a great job. Its nice to see a change though but there is much uncertainty.

    There is no risk with bringing in some youth. They are not 1st choice players in the 1st team but they are being tested out on a stage at a friendly. Bilic over time didn’t go to much to youth but when he started he was all about bringing in his fellow u21 team so he did start out with a fairly young and developing team in some spots.

    It wont mean to much in this friendly but lets see in qualifying what success he has.

  8. Ivan Malilug says:

    Great to see young players, specially Vukusic! :)

    I hope I will be at Poljud for the game!

  9. ARMADA87 says:

    I think Ivica Olic is more valuable as a striker than Kalinic. Ivica still has a few miles left in the tank. Again, he’s the perfect sub to get give our offense a jump start if needed.

    I’ll kindly take off my Rijeka homer glasses and say Dario Knezevic has no place on the NT and I’m a bit surprised as to why Stimac called him. It’s great that he’s on this youth kick with the call-ups, bringing on guys like Vukusic, Maloca, Kovacic, etc. Why couldn’t he bring on another youngster? Manuel Pamic? Vrsaljko (even though Stimac declined calling him due to being out of form)? or how about Mateo Pavlovic or Renato Kelic? At least the above mentioned guys might have a future on the NT…

    Otherwise, I like what I see. Apparently this goon squad did one thing right so far…

  10. JerseyCro says:

    Stimac went to the Rijeka-Split match so he was obviously scouting Knezevic. I agree with Armada, thats the only call I don’t agree with. He has experience I guess but I’d rather test younger options for the future.

    Dario Kresic signed for Lokomotiv Moscow today, interesting to see if he gets into the NT now playing in Russia

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